As a TV host, Morgan Lynzi found she was having the most impactful conversations with her guests off-camera. So, she launched a podcast, Well Damn, to have discussions about the less obvious areas of wellness, followed by Wild Night In, a way to bring these talks to a live audience. Now, Lynzi’s taking the party to a livestream event called Future Wave, which will be broadcast from Secondhome Hollywood, a co-working space focused on social good. The virtual fest, which benefits Academy's MusiCares, will feature deep conversations with artists and activists around the future of culture. Below, Lynzi talks to Bustle about social media activism, avoiding burnout, and the importance of endurance amid the Black Lives Matter movement.
We live in such an instant culture where everyone is urging you to use your voice and speak up, and if you don't, you're going to get canceled. There’s a fear that if you’re not a part of this urgency, then you’re not an ally. But if you don't put your safety mask on and get your oxygen first then you can't help anyone else. So if you are literally in shambles right now, if you have no wherewithal to be mentally well in this moment just because of the sheer overwhelming shock, there's no way for you to contribute to this movement in a meaningful way.
In the same way we compare how we look, what we're doing, and where we're at in life on Instagram, we're doing the same thing with our social activism. We need to be mindful of that and realize that we all have our unique expertise to add to the movement. And it takes time to figure that out. You can't do that if you're just feeling the pressure to constantly chime in and follow someone else's lead.
I think there needs to be more space for leadership within activism. If you’re a leader, you're also giving other people the tools to become leaders in their own right and affirming them that their unique gifts are just as important. Whatever your skill set is, whether you’re a graphic designer creating infographics or something else, I think it's really important to see that another aspect of activism is giving others the affirmation that they're also leaders in some way.
For me, this moment is really about amplifying the voices of emerging cultural leaders and offering the tools — events, experiences, and podcasts — to help the next generation not get frustrated and burnt out, which is very much what we're seeing now. I want to help harness that outrage. And then I’m thinking about the long-term — how can we keep our endurance and not only avoid burnout, but also not lose the opportunity to make real change?
The same principles that we’ve been applying to avoid burnout at work can be used for activism. The key is to pause and take yourself out of this situation. Anytime I feel myself getting anxious or overwhelmed, I know I need to literally get up from the computer, leave the phone, and do the complete opposite of what I was doing. And that's usually going for a walk, meditating, and de-stimulating myself from the tech and the noise. It's that space allows you to see whether you are acting from a place of performative activity or if what you’re doing is truly authentic.
I was terrible at this, maybe just even a year ago. Then I read Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good by adrienne maree brown. She talks about how when you make time for yourself, you’re living out the promise of your ancestors who didn't get to do the same. And I think that goes across the board, whether you are a Black, indigenous, person of color (BIPOC) or white. Anyone who came before you has sacrificed something so you can live in this moment of more freedom and more wellness.
If you just work yourself to the bone or take on too much in the scope of activism and making change, you defeat the purpose before you've even begun. Now that a person like myself, a person of color, is able to talk about things my ancestors probably would have been killed to say in a public forum, it's my duty to nourish myself so I can continue to do that as articulately as possible. Knowing that rest is a function of activism and not a luxury is key. It shouldn't be a luxury, but unfortunately it’s seen that way for so many.
We need to think about activism in an endurance sense, plan for that, and really take care of ourselves. Yes, there are some things you have to react to right now, but we also need to be thinking about, OK, if this is a journey, and we’re also thinking in the lens of wellness, it's got to be for life.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.